Chateau Cheval Blanc 2017
The blend this year is 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc and 56% Merlot, possessing an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cheval Blanc needs a fair bit of coaxing to reveal notions of plum preserves, redcurrant jelly, kirsch and red roses plus emerging nuances of aniseed, Sichuan pepper, pencil lead and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers impressive intensity with layer upon layer of red and black flavors with sparks of minerals and floral notes plus a firm line of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support, finishing very long and very fragrant.
Reviewed by Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Cheval Blanc was significantly affected by the frost. They lost around 30% of the vineyard, mainly on clay soils, and it was mainly Cabernet Franc situated in the “dip or lower-lying part of the vineyard." This year is therefore unique, because there is a bit more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend this year and more of a component from the gravel soils. On the plus side, the berries were small, and there is a high quantity of tannins. Winemaker Pierre Olivier informed me that “the late season was important to ripen the huge quantity of tannins.” Cheval Blanc finished picking on October 11th, equating to a vast picking window. In 2017, 8% of total production went into Petit Cheval and 15% of the estate’s fruit was sold in bulk, while 77% of production went into Cheval Blanc. No Petit Cheval Blanc (the new white wine) was produced.